The People's Perspective on Medicine

Medicine to Lengthen Lashes

Q. My sister has been on Lumigan for glaucoma and her eyelashes are amazing–long and thick! What a nice side effect!
I would love to have my eyelashes grow but I think it would be irresponsible to take a prescription medication just for that.

A. Bimatoprost (Lumigan) lowers the pressure in the eyes caused by glaucoma. FDA has also approved bimatoprost as Latisse, a solution applied to the base of the eyelashes to make them grow. Latisse is a prescription drug and rather pricey. Besides stimulating eyelash growth, it can also make blue eyes brown. This change is not reversible.
Side effects of Latisse include itching or redness of the eyes, darkening of eyelid skin, symptoms of dry eye and puffiness around the eyes.
Despite the potential for side effects, some readers are enthusiastic. Here is one report:

“Latisse works well for me. I wear gas permeable contact lenses and am sensitive to eye makeup, even the hypoallergenic mascaras. This product has significantly lengthened/thickened my lashes, and darkened them a bit. At first, I used Latisse nightly; now that I am pleased with my lash growth, I use it every other night or so for maintenance – so, one $100 bottle lasts me about 6 months! (Still, that’s a lot of money to spend.)
“It is crucial to take good care of your eyes. Latisse is not intended for use in the eye, but just along the lash line – it doesn’t require much product, which helps save $; also, by avoiding overly-generous “dosage” you greatly reduce the chance of getting the product in your eye. The day after use, my eyelids are a bit pink in appearance. An esthetician and an eye doctor have told me that eye redness is the most common side effect.
“As an added “plus”, if there is a bit of Latisse left on the applicator brush after using it along my upper lashes, I’ll run the brush through my eyebrows.”

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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I buy Lumigan (same as Latisse) in Mexico for about $30.00. It is manufactured by Allergan, so as long as the bottle is not tampered with, I believe it is safe and is the same product. It does not come with the, in my opinion, useless applicators–I bought an eyeliner brush for under $10.00 and it works just as well. I use the product for about 3 weeks, then take several weeks off, so I am not using it constantly, which prevents overgrowth. Insofar as turning of the eye color, my understanding is that might happen only if you get the product in your eye. So, after I apply the product to the lashline, I use a drop of regular eye drops to flush out anything I may have gotten in my eyes (which has never happened so far.)

I would be scared to use a Canadian pharmacy or anything online that normally you needed a Rx for. I would stick with known sources, but that’s just me.

Just got from a Canadian pharmacy on line a bottle of bimatoprost 0.03% nervous about it, no-one in my family has long, thick or a lot of eyelashes, do you think it will work on me?

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my Latisse. I have been using it for a year and a half. I was told at the plastic surgeon’s office where I got mine that no one with blue eyes have had their’s turn brown WHEN USED AS DIRECTED. In other words, used at the lash line and not as drops.
I have always had lashes that hit my eyeglasses, and that was annoying, but when they grew longer due to the Latisse, my lashes actually turned up and didn’t hit my glasses anymore. I have received unsolicited compliments almost daily, but I’ll admit I have experienced drier eyes with this product.

I know someone who had to stop using it because it made her eyelashes grow so long they batted against her eyeglass lenses. She was getting it for close-to-free, as an employee of a day spa. Suspect she was using it a bit more often than recommended, too.
Who needs bushier eyebrows? I’d look like Nixon if I didn’t hack them back, and it’s only getting worse with age. I have my father’s hair(s)….
One has to wonder, though. There are so FEW drugs that we take, for any reason, that don’t turn out to have some long term unpleasant if not deadly side effect. Even aspirin. Hate to use up all my liver cells processing drug by-products for the sake of longer eyelashes. Might need that processing power for something important one day.

I am just too afraid of anything near the eyes. My light blue eyes being brown, well, ok, if it helps my sight. But, just for lashes? Nah, no can do! ;)

I have to use Xalatan (latanoprost) every night to lower eye pressure. It makes my dry eyes dryer and very sensitive to light. I can’t imagine using Rx drops just to have longer thicker eyelashes. Stick on some false lashes or goop on some mascara sounds like an easier, cheaper, and safer solution. And be happy you don’t HAVE to use drops.
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE:
Helen,
Actually you don’t have to put Latisse in the eyes. In fact you are not supposed to get the drug in the eye at all…just around the lashes. Nevertheless, we think it is an expensive process to grow lashes. You are right that false lashes are a lot cheaper.

Both my daughter and I had fabulous results with Latissa. My eyes were sensitive to it at first but I cut back on how much product I put on the brush and got over the side effects dramatically cuts down on the amount of mascara I wear and, on occasion when we travel or spend time at the lake, I have them tinted so no need for mascara what so ever!

The Latisse company also say it can cause blue eyes to turn brown. Everyone I have talked to about that says it does not happen. Of course they are selling it. Does anyone know what the odds are of this. I have blue-green eyes and like them ok.

Another way to increase the number of eye lashes is to take Evening Primrose Oil in capsule form. I don’t know that it will make them longer but I definitely have more lashes since adding it to my diet for PMS. I first noticed that it benefitted my hair, making it grow thicker at my temples.

It can make blue eyes brown? Good for some crooks, I guess! Does it make formerly blue eyes less sensitive to light? I’d never use it on lashes because THAT side effect is just creepy! Would it have that side effect if you ONLY used it for brows?

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